Rorion Gracie, a native of Brazil, is a distinguished figure in the world of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He hails from the renowned Gracie family, the originators of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Rorion's contributions span various domains, including publishing, producing, lecturing, and co-founding the Ultimate Fighting Championship, solidifying his status as a global authority in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
As the founder and Director of Gracie University, headquartered in Torrance, California, Rorion has cultivated a state-of-the-art training facility that serves as the epicenter for countless Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners worldwide. Notably, Gracie University blazed a trail by being the first organization to present its comprehensive curriculum online through an interactive platform. This innovation empowers practitioners from across the globe to progress methodically, from lesson one to lesson two and beyond, a departure from the traditional approach where beginners are often expected to catch up.
Rorion's legacy is intertwined with his father, Grand Master Hélio Gracie, from whom he learned the art of teaching. His journey commenced at a young age, and he quickly transitioned to performing demonstrations and assisting in classes. Rorion's foray into the United States in 1969 for a vacation marked the beginning of his enduring influence. He later pursued a degree in Law from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and subsequently relocated to Southern California in 1978.
In Southern California, Rorion's mission to propagate Jiu-Jitsu led him to convert his garage in Hermosa Beach into a training space, inviting people he met to experience the sport. In 1985, he extended an invitation to his 18-year-old brother, Royce, to join him in America.
Rorion's commitment to spreading Jiu-Jitsu culture reached Hollywood when he served as a technical adviser for the 1987 movie "Lethal Weapon," training actors Mel Gibson and Gary Busey. This endeavor introduced a unique fighting style, including BJJ, to the silver screen. In 1988, he produced the documentary "Gracie Jiu-Jitsu In Action."
In collaboration with his brothers Royce, Rickson, and Royler, Rorion inaugurated the first Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California, in 1989. He further expanded his instructional reach by producing "The Basics of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu," a five-volume training video series.
Rorion's influence extended beyond film and instruction when, in 1993, he partnered with promoter and business executive Art Davie to create the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC, born out of a desire to showcase Gracie Jiu-Jitsu's effectiveness, brought together martial artists from diverse backgrounds in a groundbreaking tournament format.
Following the UFC's success in 1994, Rorion was approached by high-ranking military personnel, leading to the development of the Gracie Combative military course. This course, based on the most effective Gracie Jiu-Jitsu techniques, became a cornerstone of the official US Army Modern Army Combative Program (MACP). Concurrently, the Gracie Resisting Attack Procedures for Law Enforcement (GRAPLE) was created to fulfill law enforcement's need for defensive tactics training, ultimately leading to the formation of Gracie Survival Tactics (GST), a comprehensive program for both military and law enforcement.
Rorion Gracie's lifelong dedication to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has left an indelible mark on martial arts, film, and military training, shaping the discipline's global reach and impact.